This essay presents the song “Area Code 869,” an example of a Caribbean genre known as “wilders” or “pep,” as a form of what Kodwo Eshun calls “sonic fiction.” By focusing on sonic bodies as “bodies touched by sound,” the essay suggests that “869” offers a reimagination of the historical relationship between sugar, sound, and speed in the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Kitts, a former British sugar colony.
Sugar, Sound, Speed: “Area Code 869” and Sonic Fiction
Jessica Swanston Baker is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago, where she teaches and researches in the fields of Caribbean music and archipelagic and critical Caribbean studies, as well as in theories of the postcolonial, race, and sexuality. Her current book project, Island Time: Speed, Music, and Modernity in St. Kitts and Nevis, is an ethnographic and historical examination of changing conceptions of temporality as understood through the sonic worlds of postcolonial youth in the eastern Caribbean twin-island nation St. Kitts and Nevis.
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Jessica Swanston Baker; Sugar, Sound, Speed: “Area Code 869” and Sonic Fiction. Representations 1 May 2021; 154 (1): 23–34. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rep.2021.154.3.23
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